Black Lightning Showrunner Says Painkiller Series Will Feature Thunder and Lightning

Black Lightning may be coming to an end with its fourth and final season, it may not be the last viewers see of the Pierce daughters, Anissa/Thunder (Nefessa Williams) and Jennifer/Lightning (China Anne McClain). According to series showrunner Salim Akil, both superheroes are likely to appear in the Painkiller spinoff series set to center around Jordan Calloway's character of the same name, should it get picked up to series.

Speaking with SYFY, Akil said that Painkiller -- which will bet a backdoor pilot in episode seven of Black Lightning this season -- will be a true spinoff and that the Pierce sisters will be a part of it.

"We're shooting the Painkiller pilot now," Akil said. "We fully intend for it to be a spinoff. I know that if Painkiller gets picked up, you'll probably see [the Pierce sisters] in there."

The idea that Jen/Lightning could appear on Painkiller is something that may be surprising for fans. Last year, shortly after the announcement that Black Lightning was ending after four seasons, McClain took to social media and revealed that already had plans to leave Black Lightning with Season 4 to be her last even before the series was canceled.

"There's something I want to tell you, and for those who haven't heard, I'm sorry," she said at the time. "This season of Black Lightning that we're filming right now is going to be the last season of the show. I didn't find that out until yesterday. I found out with everybody else. I didn't know. But, what I did know and have known along with the rest of the cast since before we even started shooting this season is that I am leaving the show. And was leaving the show. This was going to be my last season, regardless of if it went on or not. For different reasons, that if we're being honest, I do not want to go into. I just want y'all to trust me on it."

McClain also revealed that she'd only agreed to be in a certain number of episodes, though she was clear that her decision had nothing to do with The CW and was more personal.

As for the Painkiller spinoff more generally, Akil said that he is interested in exploring the "duality" of the character.

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"With Khalil, I wanted to get into the idea of the duality of Black men," Akil explained. "How, in some cases, you're one person in one area of your life and you have to be another person. I'm trying to figure that out with this character: how do you bring those two parts of you together without sacrificing who you truly are?"

Black Lightning airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. The Painkiller backdoor pilot is set for the seventh episode of Black Lightning's fourth season.